A Good Thing: The Fall
[I don’t write reviews, but I do like to point out things that worked well in games I’ve enjoyed.]
The Fall is a side-scrolling point-and-click adventure from indie studio Over the Moon. You play the onboard intelligence of a power armour suit with an unconscious passenger, exploring a derelict installation populated by deranged machine intelligences.
The Fall’s robots are TV scifi. You know: they talk in even, contraction-free tones. They all but say things like ‘that is illogical’. But they also use euphemisms like ‘depurpose’, and their drives and limitations feel like those of smart machines, not people. A major third act plot point revolves around the protagonist’s inability to lie. If you’re going to make your NPCs unhuman, make them feel unhuman: the Fall did this. It’s partly in the writing, partly in the voice acting, and it rises like smoke from the visual design.
[I should warn you that the Fall ends on a cliffhanger, and the sequel’s not out yet (they’re saying Q1 2017). But the whole game worked, narratively, as far as I was concerned.]